From Pre-Freshman Abroad to Freshman On-Campus: Examining Intercultural Competence Development Through an Extended Journey


  • Michael Bittinger Purdue University
  • Lan Jin Purdue University
  • Xueting (Katherine) Dou Purdue University



intercultural competence, study abroad, pre-freshman, first-year college students, internationalization


As students transition from high school to college, their abilities to adapt and adjust are put to the test. This study examines the outcomes of a multi-stage study abroad program targeting first-year college students. The authors investigated student intercultural competence levels prior to matriculation, their development while abroad, and their continued expansion by means of a post-travel, on-campus component. Mixed-methods data collection and analyses indicated that students gained significant intercultural competence development through participating in a short-term overseas experience, which stretched into their transition to college life. This research contributes to the study abroad and intercultural learning literature by investigating the effect of an innovative program model and the understudied population of pre-freshman students. The findings provide practical implications for designing and assessing intercultural programing overseas and on campus.


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Author Biographies

Michael Bittinger, Purdue University

Michael Bittinger, Assistant Director, Purdue University Study Abroad. Michael is an intercultural learning practitioner and study abroad program facilitator, leading multiple groups overseas per year. He has extensive experience developing and managing programs for the development of intercultural competence, domestically and abroad. He is a qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory, and the Global Competence Certificate.

Lan Jin, Purdue University

Lan Jin, PhD, Intercultural Research Specialist, Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR). Dr. Jin’s major research interests lie in the area of intercultural competence development in the classroom, study abroad programs, virtual exchange programs, and co-curricular programs, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Dr. Jin is particularly interested in developing intercultural interventions for teaching and learning using innovative approaches to improve intercultural competence and other student learning outcomes.

Xueting (Katherine) Dou, Purdue University

Xueting (Katherine) Dou, PhD, White Lodging- J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Xueting (Katherine) Dou recently graduated with a PhD degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management from Purdue University. Her current research focuses on tourist behavior, service innovation, and student mobility. She is especially interested in investigating the impact of travel on tourists’ quality of life. Xueting also worked as a graduate assistant and student advisor in the Study Abroad Office at Purdue University.


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How to Cite

Bittinger, M., Jin, L., & Dou, X. (Katherine). (2022). From Pre-Freshman Abroad to Freshman On-Campus: Examining Intercultural Competence Development Through an Extended Journey. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(1), 61–96.



Research Articles